Honoka Aoki and Jack Tomlin met with the organisers of EuroMUN Wednesday morning for an interview about how the conference was born…
On a perfect sunny day for the first day of EuroMUN 2013, we were welcomed by two of the most important staff members, who have been committing their time to make this event memorable and special for every participant. The interview took place in a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere with Diego Salama and Neelam Melwani.
EuroMUN is our “baby”
It is not surprising that both are quite experienced in MUNs. Having worked with MUNs for four years, they think of EuroMUN as more than just a project. The two uttered in unison: EuroMUN is my “baby”. “After this five days of program, we will be in a ‘post-EuroMUN depression’ for sure…” Diego tells us with a grin in his face. Certainly it has become a part of their lives.
Diego Salama, a second year student at University College Maastricht, is a native of Bolivia. Before coming to Maastricht for his international relations course, he has been involved in MUNs in South America and Europe. In fact, what made him decide to come to Maastricht was EuroMUN. One of the participants of the MUN in Geneva introduced Diego to the international and unique University in a southern city of the Netherlands. Having chaired for different committees at previous MUNs, Diego proudly takes a role as Secretary of General at EuroMUN 2013, the fourth MUN for himself. On the interviewer’s astonishment, he arrives at the venue (MECC) at 7am every morning during the conference. No wonder he needs to finish two cans of energy drink during the interview to run at his full strength for the next 4 days!
As the Deputy-Secretary General, Neelam Melwani works very closely with Diego. She has been also a part of EuroMUN for four years now. Her roles in the organization of the conference varies from managing portfolios, establishing relationships with Dutch partners such as the municipality and Ministry ofForeign Affairs, and making use of the full potential of social media to promote the event. Notably, their official Facebook page has been a huge success with over 2000 more likes since last October, posting up-to-date information on an almost hourly basis during the event.
One question our two interlocutors were eager to answer: what made this EuroMUN special? Immediately we received a barrage of marketing words such as: innovation, professionalism, sustainability, continuity etc., which perhaps seemed a rehearsed selling proposal but terms that upon further elaboration really settled into themselves. EuroMUN 2013 has taken digital to another level. This year sees USB sticks given out with delegate portfolios following a paperless policy instituted MUN-wide.
Our interviewees go on to tell us about a totally redesigned ‘corporate image’, one in which they enlisted the expertise of American design student Minali Chatani. Letter headers was harmonized, logos re-designed, fonts made uniform. Never having attended a MUN before, I sat wondering, as this is a student run event, is such a worked corporate identity really necessary?
As we delved further into the interview, it became apparent that yes, it was. EuroMUN has attracted delegates worldwide. Over 300 hundred universities were contacted. Such an international identity is important for the feel and atmosphere of the event. In trying to understand the event’s level of professionalism, we asked about the necessity of suits and what role EuroMUN played in fostering a network society for the next UN representatives. The questions were met with an honest account of the rationale for MUNs. They’re to simulate a working environment. They inadvertently create bonds and second families. MUNs also provide social events. Later in the day, when entering a presentation on rules of procedure, I couldn’t miss two eager delegates propositioning a rather pretty girl about the champagne drinks provided later…
During the interview, frequent interruptions by other staff members and numbers of phone calls tells us how the two is relied upon by many and how all the EuroMUN staff are working closely with each other all the time. Diego and Neelam will be hoping for a flawless EuroMUN, if it isn’t, will it reflect them?